Sunday, December 31, 2006

If I was a novelist ...


I'd be working up something like this:

First, they hang Saddam ...



... and then he comes back.

Those who followed the old fairy tales (babies murdered in Kuwait so their incubators could be sent to Baghdad, for example) before the Busheviks introduced the new, improved versions (yellowcake from Niger, dissidents thrown in shredding machines and such) will remember the "body double" bit. Saddam allegedly had a bunch of look-alikes. I've seen six mentioned, and I've seen 20 mentioned.

The number doesn't really matter too much, I guess. The key thing here is that before it became convenient to be able to "positively identify" Saddam, the fairy tale narrative included an element that made such identification highly unlikely.

To wit, most of his alleged "body doubles," who had of course been surgically treated for exact similarity of appearance and coached in Saddam-like body language, demeanor, etc., were relatives from his home town of Tikrit. They weren't just similar in appearance (supposedly several different "Saddams" spent each night in different presidential palaces to frustrate assassins). They weren't just similar in demeanor (supposedly "Saddam" would often be giving speeches in, say, Baghdad and Basra at the same time -- convenient, eh?). They were similar in DNA.

So, to put it bluntly -- if the old fairy tale narrative has any truth to it at all -- the Green Zone government and the US occupiers don't -- can't -- have the slightest idea whether or not the guy they just hanged was or was not Saddam Hussein. Granted, we've been spoon-fed a replacement set of fairy tales for the last four years or so, but I'm just saying. Maybe the real Saddam's been kicking back in Amman since 2003. Or maybe he died in 1991 and his doubles just split the duty, the money and the women up and gravy-trained for 12 more years before separately running for the hills. Who knows?

Anyway, back to the novel. What happens next week or next month when "Saddam" shows up in Tikrit, or Fallujah, or both, in uniform, beating his chest and firing a shotgun in the air?

Of course, if I was a really wicked novelist, I'd make the reappearance occur on the third day, mirroring a famous past resurrection, and bring the Busheviks in on the magic show. There's a certain segment of their constituency which interprets the Bible literally, believes that the antichrist's capital will be located in Babylon (which, as it happens, is in Iraq), and is fond of prophecy:

And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.


So Iraq's Ba'athists get a sort of off-kilter Mahdi figure to rally the Sunnis to their flag, and the GOP's Jesus Screamer faction gets one king-hell soapbox for a holy war against The Beast.

Sounds like a best-selling potboiler to me ... and hey, it's no farther out than most of the bullshit Dubyah shoveled our way as purported non-fiction to get buy-in on this fiasco in the first place.

I hope someone writes it. I'm not a novelist, of course, so I'll stick to more hopeful and realistic scenarios, such as this one:

In the White House, Crawford, wherever they are, perhaps George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are absently fingering their own necks and wondering if maybe refurbishing the Nuremberg precedent wasn't such a good idea after all.

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